Sandwiched between California Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Judy Chu, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., said his seat at the State of the Union Address Tuesday was lucky.
"This year, I listened to (the) State of the Union speech sitting between two attractive ladies, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Judy Chu, so I was a lucky man," he was quoted as saying in a news release issued by his office.
Bartlett might not always agree with Pelosi, D-Calif. and Chu, D-Calif., on policy, but he said that sitting with members of Congress based on a shared connection instead of party affiliation proved that legislators can disagree without being disagreeable, the release said.
Lisa Lyons Wright, Bartlett's press secretary, said the congressman has become "walking-and-talking" buddies with Chu. He will often walk with her when he goes from his office to vote on the House floor, she said.
It was a shared heritage as Marylanders that prompted Pelosi to ask Bartlett to sit with her during the State of the Union, Wright said.
Pelosi, who is a native of Baltimore, asked Bartlett to sit with her because he represents Maryland, Wright said.
Wright said Bartlett gave each congresswoman a piece of Dove dark chocolate.
Bartlett also commented on President Obama's speech in the release.
"I'm very glad that the President said our Sputnik moment is the challenge to overcome our dependence on imported oil," the release quoted him as saying. "On the other hand, I couldn't stand for the President's proposal to kill the goose that lays our golden eggs by increasing taxes on our most productive workers."
He said he was glad that the longest standing-ovation of the evening was for the Armed Forces, the release said.
The release also quoted Bartlett as saying "my other favorite moments" in the speech were when the president recognized the tremendous debt owed to teachers and asked Americans to celebrate academic achievements as much the Super Bowl.
In a news release from Chu's office, the congresswoman was quoted as saying, "Rep. Bartlett and I may come from different parties, different generations and different professional and cultural backgrounds, but like the rest of our colleagues in the House, we are here because we love this country, we have heeded the call to serve and we are committed to protecting and improving the lives of our fellow citizens.
"It will be an honor for me to sit alongside such a distinguished public servant as Rep. Bartlett, our esteemed Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as all my House colleagues," Chu said, according to the release, which was issued before the State of the Union Address Tuesday.
The intermingling of the parties was a departure from past State of the Union addresses where Democrats sat on one side of the chamber and Republicans on the other, the release said.